Corey Lowe and her 12-year-old daughter, Victoria, embarked on the 20-plus hour trek, with hopes medical cannabis oil available in the state will finally give the daughter some relief from chronic seizures that have ruled her life.
The medical refugees are planning to stay in Colorado to try the medicine for six months. They are leaving behind the rest of their family.
Lowe and her husband, Jason McLean, have big hopes for what the drug might do to help Victoria, as they have seen with other children. But they aren’t happy to adjust their lives in such a profound way to have the chance to try it after Georgia legislators failed to pass legislation allowing the non-intoxicating oil earlier this year.
“It’s just unfair that we’re having to do this,” Lowe, who fought for the legislation, said as she packed a suitcase at her house in the Harmony on the Lakes subdivision. “We should be able to get the medicine Victoria needs right here and not pack up all this, my entire life.”
She debated taking a thick winter coat, but didn’t like the prospect.
“I don’t want to take it; if I don’t take it that means I’m back before winter,” she said.
Lowe’s house was busy with reporters, a man filming for a documentary on Georgia’s failed cannabis oil legislation, and friends and family members saying goodbye and helping them pack.
One friend, Jennifer Parsons, who said her father is Rep. Don Parsons (R-Marietta), couldn’t help but cry as she watched Lowe and her daughter prepare to leave the rest of their family behind, just because they wanted medical treatment.
“No crying, no crying, no crying, no crying,” Lowe told her as she tried to keep her mind on the packing and off the reality.
“It makes me sad they’ll be apart, the family,” Jennifer Parsons explained later, breaking into tears again. “There are so many people going through that right now. That’s what’s upsetting.”
Like other parents from Georgia headed to Colorado, Lowe is receiving some help in her move. A nonprofit organization called “Journey of Hope” is giving her and Victoria money for rent. Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon), who wrote the cannabis oil legislation, gave them money personally. Sen. Butch Miller (R-Gainesville) loaned her the minivan.
While they’re gone, Victoria’s father will stay home with their other children. McLean said the idea of losing his wife and daughter for six months is scary, but to accept it, all he has to do is look how his daughter lives.
Victoria has had seizures since she was an infant, Lowe says. Some days, she has them in the dozens. They have stalled her development, causing her to lead the life of a much younger child. She can’t talk and knows next to no sign language. When she gets upset, unable to tell her parents what she needs, she screams wildly.
“I’m just in support of whatever it takes to try something else for her,” the father said, standing in his kitchen Friday as his wife packed. “When I start to think about (them leaving), that’s when you’ve just got to think about Victoria, what she’s sacrificing, because her quality of life is (low). If you couldn’t talk and tell somebody you have a headache or your stomach hurts …”
That would not be a good way to live, he said.